[Brazil] Mirror, Mirror – Who Is that Woman on TV?

Woman street vendor
A young black street vendor selling “acarajé”, a traditional type of fritter, in Salvador, Bahia in Brazil’s Northeast. Image: Fabiana Frayssinet/IPS

RIO DE JANEIRO, Oct 21 2013 (IPS) – Carla Vilas Boas is of mixed-race descent – African, European and indigenous – like a majority of the population of Brazil. But she spends hours straightening her hair, trying to look more like the blond, blue-eyed women she sees in the mirror of television.

The 32-year-old domestic worker acknowledges that Brazil’s popular telenovelas have started to include characters like her – people from the country’s favelas or shantytowns, who work long workdays for low wages.

“In an ad for margarine we don’t see black women or happy black families. But in the area of cosmetics we’re starting to see a change,” Vidal said . . .

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